Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Matters of the Heart

It was 3:00 in the morning. Kadhir was trying hard to fall asleep. Big day tomorrow. He had a meeting with the clients of his next project. His manager had asked him to be at the office by 8:30 a.m. Half an hour before the meeting. So that they could go through the details once before the meeting. He worked late the previous night and was completely exhausted. As he was starting to doze he heard a loud cry. Kadhir and Sandhya's five month old daughter. Sandhya rolled her blanket away, trying to get up.

"I will get this one. You have been up twice already. You go back to sleep," Kadhir said.

"Are you sure? You have to wake up early tomorrow," Sandhya said, groggily.

"It's already tomorrow, honey. Do not worry. I will put her to sleep and come back in 10mins." Kadhir said and kissed her to sleep.

Kadhir walked to the cradle. Pranitha, their five month old daughter was crying her lungs out. Kadhir picked her up carefully and took her to the main hall. "Achachachacho! What happened to my Prani baby! Why are you crying!? Are you hungry!? Does your little stomach hurt!? Don't you worry. Appa is here. Appa is going to take care of his little angel," Kadhir started talking to his daughter in a childish voice, as if the child understood. He starts rocking and cradling the baby in his arms. He hummed unclear lullabies and walked around the room. It was around 4 when she finally went to sleep. Kadhir carefully put her back in the cradle and came to sleep.

The alarm went off at 6. Kadhir silenced his mobile. The second alarm went off at 6:15. Kadhir turned it off and got up, still half asleep. His wife and daughter were still deep in sleep. He tip toed to bathroom so as to not wake up his daughter. He took bath and got ready for office. Everything appeared hazy for him, as if he was doing things while sleepwalking.

"I'm leaving for office, honey. See you in the eveining," Kadhir whispered in his wife's ear and kissed her on her forehead.

"Breakfast?" she asked.

"Ah! I will have something at the office cafeteria. Need to leave before the traffic. Ok, bye!" Kadhir said and rushed.

Kadhir started the car and turned on the FM. He switched the stations until he found the one that played some peppy songs. He started driving. The traffic was slim. He kept driving, slowly rocking his head to the music. There weren't any vehicles in front his car. Suddenly his vision started to blur and before he could realise he fell asleep. When he woke up, his car had already hit the concrete divider and was flying to the other side. The car tumbled and landed on its top and was dragged for 30ft. The screeching sound of the metal meeting the asphalt filled the air. And then there was a deafning silence. The few people in the surrounding started running towards the car.


"What's the next case?" asked Dr. Vikram to the female attendant, Suja.

"Male. Age 30. Accident." Suja replied, to the point.

"Accident? What is he doing in the exam room instead of being in the emergency ward?" Vikram asked and chuckled.

"The guy fell asleep behind the wheel. The car hit the divider, was tossed into the air, landed bottum-up on the other side of the road and was dragged for 50ft. And guess what? The guy walks out of it all, unscathed," Suja said with a glint of amazement in her eyes. They both looked at Kadhir sitting on the examination table inside the exam room.

"Seems to be one lucky bastard."

Suja looked up and stared at Vikram, as if disapproving his choice of words.

"So what do you want me to do?"

"Check him. And clear him for discharge if he is alright"

Vikram took the case file from Suja's table and walked towards the exam room. "Having an adventurous day, are we?" Vikram asked as he opened the door and entered the room.

"I know, it was a mistake. I was really tired and sleep deprived. I should've taken the bus or a cab. I risked my life and that of others. Can't believe I'm still alive," Kadhir said and let out a wry smile.

"So, Mr. Kadhir is it?" Vikram asked.

"It's Kadhiresan, actually", Kadhir replied.

"Ok, Mr. Kadhiresan. Don't worry. All's well that ends well, not for your car though," Vikram said and smiled sheepishly.

"No visible wounds or injuries. No disorientation. You seem to be a little shaken by the incident. That's normal. Do you feel any pain anywhere in your body?" Vikram asked while checking Kadhir.

"No. Not really."

"Your eyes are bloodshot though. Too much drink last night?"

"No. I don't drink. At least not after our daughter was born."

"Oh! How old?"

"30yrs", Kadhir said.

"Not you. Your daughter," Vikram smiled.

"Oh! sorry. 5 months old"

"I see! Sleeplees baby equals sleepless dad equals a nasty accident. Having a stressful job too I guess," Vikram said. Kadhir nodded.

"Ok. We will run some tests to check for any internal bleeding. And if everything checks out fine, you're good to go. I will prescribe you some immune boosters, though. Sleep deprivation and stress can take a toll on your immune system. A couple of days of rest and you will be ready to take over the world with your daughter," said Vikram and asked, "do you want us to call your wife and inform her?"

"No. Don't. She will freak out. I will tell her myself when I go home," said Kadhir when they heard a knock on the door.

"Doctor, need you for a minute," Suja said while peering into the room.

"Just a moment," Vikram said and excused himself.

"May be you want to take a look into this," Suja said and handed a file to Vikram.

"What's this?"

"Patient's history file. His personal details, medical history and other things. We went through the contents of his wallet and found his doctor's card. We contacted his doctor for details of any pre-existing conditions that we ought to know about. He sent us his files," said Suja.

"So, is there anything medically signifacant to know about Mr. Kadhir?"

"First thing, he is not Kadhir. His name is Gaurav. Around 8 months back he had an accident. A more serious one. Another car coming in the opposite direction lost control and hit the divider, like today, and came flying towards his car. The other car had a father, mother and their 5 months old baby, a girl child. The mother and the child died on the spot. The father was taken to a hospital in a very serious condition," said Suja and continued, "Mr. Gaurav here, had a metal shrapnel lodged into his chest, piercing his heart. The heart couldn't be fixed and he was in need of a heart transplant. And like they say, fate, it seems, is not without a sense of irony. The father died after 10hrs and his heart fit all the criteria for a transplant. Mr. Gaurav survived with that ill-fated father's heart." Suja paused for a moment and said, "And the name of the father whose heart was transplanted is..."

"Kadhiresan," Vikram completed Suja's sentence.

Vikram turned and looked at Gaurav sitting on the examination table. And then Gaurav looked at Vikram and smiled.

PS: This is one of my longer posts, sorry for that. Whenever I think of a story, I have different storylines/plotlines. Then choose one among them. Here, I had another version where Kadhiresan survives, the mother and the child die and there is no Gaurav. Also in another version the mother survives, the father and the child die. I was apprehensive about sharing this. But thought it would be fun to give different plotlines and let the reader construct their own version(s), if they wish to. :-)